Desmond does not have a lovie. Or a blankie or a binkie or whatever you call it. He has his thumb and... us. He's a snuggler in a major way. Every morning he'll cuddle in our bed with us for a half hour or an hour, as we're all still groggy and hesitant to wake up. During the day he'll often climb up on our laps for a snuggle break. And at night before bed it's snuggle-palooza.
It's not overly frequent or clingy, although he has his days. It's mostly just every once in a while. And when he's done, he's on his way getting into everything and tearing the house apart.
Instead of a blanket or teddy bear, as he snuggles he'll rub our fingernails. His left thumb in his mouth and his right hand stroking the nail bed of one of our fingers. He shares this habit with others, grandparents, aunts, uncles, his day care provider. He's an equal opportunity fingernail-rubber. It sounds weird, I know.
But no. Here's what's weird...
One of my most vivid memories of Desmond's birth was when they put him on my chest right after he came out. (Of course that would be vivid, right?) I looked him all over, beside myself with joy, completely fascinated that I grew this perfect person inside of me and now he was on the outside. But mostly I stared at his fingernails. For some reason I was fixated on them, like tunnel vision amidst all the chaos and excitement. At that moment, his fingernails were the most flawless, sublime thing about him. They meant he was okay, healthy, HERE in the flesh. And I rubbed them. Gently between my thumb and index finger, I squeezed each tiny pink nail one at a time. Unbelievably small, but so so strong.
Every time he climbs up on my lap, every time, I think about those moments right after he was born. Even as he continues to grow at such a feverish pace I feel like I can't keep up, every day he brings me back to that time when he was so tiny I could hold all of him in my arms.
He'll have his thumb in his mouth and if sometimes I'm not fast enough to provide a hand, he'll whine, reaching for it. And when he finally finds my hand, my finger, my nail, he rubs softly. As if reminding me that he's still my baby boy.